After months in lockdown and tier 2 and 3 restrictions, we’re more than ready for a holiday – and so are our customers! The latest announcement has got us sorting through our summer wardrobes and getting out the suncream. Ready to book? Take a look through our latest holiday deals or get a quote online. Or keep reading for more advice about booking a holiday in 2021 or 2022.
I’m Lisa Weakley, Managing Director of Global Independent Travel.
I’ve been talking to my regular customers in North Somerset over the last few months – many of whom want a holiday, but some of whom are on the fence about booking.
I thought it would be useful to share my answers to their questions, and use my 20 years’ experience as a travel agent – including navigating the holiday industry in 2020! – to give honest advice about:
- Travel during coronavirus
- When is the best time to book a trip
- What are the latest guidelines
- How to book safely and with confidence
- What you can do now to prepare
Nobody can predict the future – but we can still dream up, plan and even book holidays safely, in anticipation that things will get better and we’ll be able to get away sooner rather than later.
Our advice is to book in advance for 2022, but we are here to discuss 2021 holidays, too.
What are the latest UK and overseas travel rules?
In their “roadmap out of lockdown”, the government announced that – for England – holidays in self-contained accommodation could resume on 12 April. Stays in hotels, hostels and holiday parks may be allowed from 17 May – as well as international travel.
Can I book my 2021 holiday now?
We’re seeing customers already booking holidays for summer or autumn 2021 – to beat the post-lockdown rush. If you’re keen to reserve your spot, please get in touch – we do have holiday packages available for this year, too.
Until rules are relaxed, non-essential travel in the UK and abroad is illegal, and holiday-makers returning from abroad may have to quarantine at home, or for 10 days in a hotel. However, booking a holiday in anticipation that the restrictions will change is legal.
What’s great about booking a holiday with us in advance is that they’re risk-free. If you are unable to travel due to covid restrictions on travel, you can postpone by changing your departure date, or even cancel and get a refund (otherwise normal booking conditions apply).
How far in advance should you book?
The best time to book a holiday is far in advance – this is where you can consistently find generous “early booking” offers on package holidays.
Some providers offer last-minute holidays which, pre-coronavirus, used to be low-cost. However, last-minute flights and holidays are likely to be more expensive this year due to a late spike in demand, and reduced airline capacity due to flights being cancelled.
We believe that flight prices will rise across 2021, and that now is the best time to book a cheap holiday for future travel. Demand for staycations was high in 2020, so we also recommend booking ahead of time for UK getaways.
To avoid disappointment, we recommend reserving your holiday as far in advance as possible.
6 reasons why you should book a holiday now for 2021 or 2022
- Things are looking up. After the announcement of the roadmap for lifting lockdown, holidaying in summer 2021 is a real possibiliity – by mid-June we’re due to be living life with no covid restrictions and UK holidays and travel to many overseas destinations is likely to be on the cards. By mid-2022, we are likely to have even more certainty around travelling overseas, and the vaccine rollout is likely to be complete.
- It makes financial sense to book in advance. Increased competition for holiday places means that last-minute holidays will not be as cheap as they used to be. We expect summer 2021 prices to only increase. We have some amazing deals for 2022 holidays – like a week in Crete half-board for only £444 per person.
- There’s no financial risk. Our holidays are protected, so if you need to you can postpone or cancel at no cost.
- Avoid disappointment. Don’t leave it too late to get the holiday you’re dreaming of – high demand could lead to a shortage of places, or inflated prices. Also bear in mind that there is likely to be reduced availability in 2021 and 2022 due to postponed bookings.
- Staying positive. It’s important for all of us to have things to look forward to. Writing out your 2022 holiday in the calendar and marking off the days will help you keep going through any difficult moments ahead.
- Booking now supports livelihoods. If you needed an altruistic reason to book, here’s one. The travel industry has been on hold over the past 12 months. Booking guarantees financial security now for all those working in the travel industry – not just travel companies, but local economies that depend on employment opportunities provided by tourism to survive.
Should I book my 2021 or 2022 holiday in the UK or abroad?
We don’t know what the situation will be by summer 2021. Possible disruptions to holiday plans could include tier restrictions or coronavirus hotspots to avoid in the UK, or “vaccine passports” and pre-holiday covid testing for abroad trips.
Speaking to our customers, the mood is that it feels more likely that UK holidays will go ahead in 2021, and that overseas travel will resume in 2022.
Whether you decide to book a UK mini-break or an overseas holiday, here is some advice about how to book a risk-free holiday that can be moved or refunded, in the event that it does not go ahead.
Protect your money: How to safely book a holiday during covid-19
If you’re ready to book a holiday now – you can book with confidence.
Which? has a fantastic article with more information about the do’s and don’ts for holidaymakers about to book a holiday in 2021. These include:
- Use a local travel agent to book, avoid online-only travel agents (OTAs). According to Which?, online-only travel agents haven’t been able to “offer good customer service or the same level of protection as traditional tour operators”. Instead, Which? says that local travel agents are recommended because they are “on hand to amend your booking” and that “someone is at the other end of the phone to help”. Exactly right! We’ll be there to support you if anything changes with your holiday, or if you’d like to reschedule or cancel.
- Book a package holiday. Package holidays offer better protection to customers, with flexibility around changes to covid-19 travel restrictions, plus protection around companies going bust. According to Which? research, package holidays in 2021 are cheaper than DIY holidays.
- Book a holiday with a company that refunds cancelled holidays. According to Which?, some airlines and travel companies are yet to refund holidays cancelled in 2020. These are typically “multinationals” that don’t put their customers’ money into a ring-fenced trust account. Which? recommends using specialist and small holiday companies. We also support you in checking T&Cs and online reviews to make sure your holiday company has a policy of paying out.
- Look for flexible booking. Ask your travel agent to recommend travel operators that allow you to “book with confidence” and change your holiday dates for free.
- Only pay low-cost deposits. Especially in 2021, we have lots of travel deals with small deposits, some for less than £100. This is another great way to reduce financial risk when booking.
- Use a credit card to book. Credit cards give you more financial protection for holidays. You may be able to claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act to get a refund for a flight, for example.
- Buy travel insurance as soon as you book. Which? advises you to choose a policy that provides coronavirus medical cover, coronavirus cancellation cover, and scheduled airline failure insurance (SAFI).
Protected holidays from Global Independent Travel
Booking through Global Independent Travel meets the safe booking criteria from Which?. We are a local high street travel agency in Clevedon offering holiday packages covered by ABTA bonding (insurance policies).
We sell package holidays that are ATOL protected (overseas holidays), and have a very good history of offering flexibility or refunds to customers whose holidays have had to move or be cancelled.
We have access to hundreds of tour operators and travel services, and we cherry pick the best quality packages from reputable travel operators. We also follow Foreign Office Travel Advice and can help you select a holiday destination with a high chance of allowing travel.
Our hand-picked holidays for 2022 include a scenic Fjords Cruise, a sun-baked week in Crete, 5-star South Africa safari and a golden opportunity to travel Australia in a campervan.
Check out our latest holiday deals.
As well as the deals on our site we offer a personalised holiday service, where we listen to your dream holiday desires, tailor a package for you and make the booking with minimal fuss.
What you can do now to prepare for travel
If you’re excited for your next holiday but not ready to book yet – that’s ok! Here are some actions you can take now, so when it’s time to book there’s nothing else to worry about.
- Prepare for post-Brexit travel to Europe. Now that the Brexit transition period has ended, there are a few things to check before travelling to Europe. British citizens’ passports will need to have a minimum of six months left, and be less than 10 years old. EHICs still work, but travel insurance with health protection is also recommended. There is also new paperwork for driving, and travelling with pets. Be aware that free mobile phone roaming in Europe has also ended.
- Make sure your passport is valid. Even if you’re going further afield than Europe, it’s still worth checking that your passport is in date!
- Get inspired for travel. We have nothing but time at the moment to dream about our next holidays! Turn your dreams into reality (soon!) by planning your trip in advance. Check out our brochures for destination inspiration, or read Kerrie’s blog about how to live like you’re abroad during lockdown, like exploring with virtual travel tours. Or, how about joining our webinar on 23 March at 7pm – Journey around the world from your armchair.
- Check out our latest travel deals. We picked holidays that we know we’d all love to be on and destinations that are popular with our customers. Take a look at our 2022 holiday deals.
- Spread the hope. We will be able to go on holiday soon. Share this article with your friends and family, or tag them in our Facebook post to let them know that holidays are on the horizon.
We want your next holiday to be a good one. Whether you’re ready to book now or wait until later, we’ll be here ready to plan the perfect getaway. If you have any questions to add, please reach out by phone or email, or message me on Facebook.